Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Diwali and cancellation of my Official trip to Delhi.

Every festival in India is celebrated with gaiety . Diwali too is celebrated in all parts of India in different ways. 

Almost all the Hindus clean up their homes , all family members get involved in decorating the house with Rangoli , thoran and diyas . Most Hindus also perform puja to Goddess Lakshmi in the evening .

There was a time when I too would look forward to Diwali , I still do but now there is some nervousness.

It is due to the burning of firecrackers during Diwali. All the towns and cities turn  into gas chambers and the fog worsens the situation as the weather transitions from Rainy season to the Winter season . The environment turns toxic owning to the harmful chemicals used in the making of  these crackers. 

There is a rise in patients getting admitted to hospitals immediately after Diwali with complaints of respiratory issues. Small children and old are the most affected. In spite of the rise in pollution people do not realize the harm that we are causing to ourselves and the planet by burning crackers.  

Glad that in 2016 the Supreme Court had banned the burning of crackers in Delhi . But, how many heed to the order. Every day some of the News Channels display the pollution levels in the bigger towns and cities in the Country. This year it is learnt that Crackers are already illegally stocked up by the traders in spite of the ban . They will find numerous discreet ways to sell their wares.

I am allergic to dust and all kinds of smoke. I do my best to avoid such environments.This year Diwali is being celebrated on 19 Oct.  I had to cancel my Official trip to Delhi on 23 Oct  for this reason. I cannot take the risk of travelling during this time as the smog in Delhi is very severe and pollution reaches very dangerous levels. Emissions from vehicles, Thermal power plants around Delhi and crop stubble burning around Delhi are the reasons for the severe Smog in Delhi during this part of the year. Add to this all the toxic emissions from burning Fire crackers and you create a recipe for disaster. Delhi turns into the worst polluted city in the world.

Unfortunately , people do not understand and compete with friends and neighbors as to who burns the most crackers. It also pains that the supreme court ban is being  politicized and communal color added 😦

Looking forward to the day when Firecrackers are banned all over the country . High time the manufacturing of these crackers are banned. Hope to celebrate a noiseless , smokeless  and pollution free Diwali in the near future. 

 

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Happy Deepawali !!

 

 

 

 

 

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Down with Sore Throat 

Was down with severe Throat infection in the last few days.This is the result of my recent visit to a supermarket. I had also visited a clothes  exhibition a couple of weeks ago without a mask. I have always been allergic to dust. The reason I usually avoid Malls, supermarkets and clothes stores. I usually wear a mask when I visit these places.I didn’t have a mask this time and very confidently entered this supermarket on my way back home. Within two days I began seeing symptoms of a Bronchitis attack and a sore throat. I started drinking warm water with turmeric to soothe my throat. But I failed this time  . It got severe by midnight and I was forced to pop an antibiotic.

Visited my ENT doctor next evening . I have completed the course and almost back to normal today.

Had to apply leave at work. Luckily we have a loong weekend along with a holiday for Dasara and Gandhi Jayanti .I will be back to work fresh and more energetic.

Each time after I recover I tell myself that I will never go to Public dusty places without a mask and I invariably end up at such places in a few months.

 


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My first Avocado recipe : Guacamole 

I had been watching recipes made with Avocados on YouTube , but did not dare to buy them. Wanted to prepare Guacamole one day.

They are not a commercial crop in India. However they are being grown in a limited way in a few parts of South India and North East India.

Few days ago I spotted Avocados in the Supermarket and bought one for the first time.
I had read about picking a perfect Avocado , letting them ripen at home and the procedure to determine if they are ready to be eaten.

The one I bought was dark green but not the almost blackish colour that I saw in the YouTube videos. I left it outside to darken. This morning I noticed it was soft when I pressed it gently and saw a few blackish spots.

I was excited and decided to prepare Guacamole. I had also bought a packet of Nachos on the same day 🙂

I had all the ingredients at home except Jalapenos. I used a green chilli instead.

So here are the ingredients for one serving

Avocado : 1

Tomatoes : 1 medium size (I had cherry tomatoes that I used)

Green chilli : 1

Salt to taste

One small 🍋 lemon

One small onion

Coriander leaves (optional)

 

Method:

Scoop out the pulp of the Avocado and mash it up using a fork.

Chop up the onion and 🍅 tomatoes.

Chop the green chilli into fine pieces.

Mix all of them in a bowl and add salt ,lemon juice and coriander leaves.

Stir well.

Guacamole dip is ready. Enjoy with Nachos.

It was yummy 🙂


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Consumption of Curcumin / Turmeric, its effect on Body Heat and remedies.

 

Curcumin is definitely helping many patients all over the world in successfully managing Multiple Myeloma .

I have been using Curcumin and Turmeric since 2015.

When I recommended Curcumin to other MM patients/Caregivers , I got a feedback that many were unable to take Curcumin as they were experiencing uncomfortable side effects.

Nose bleeds and  diarrhea seem to be some of the common side effects.

Consumption of Turmeric and its extract Curcumin might increase the body heat in a few people. This in turn results in the above effects.

I would recommend foods like Cucumber  ,  buttermilk etc which cool the body. These foods help in balancing the body heat.

It is equally important that we avoid foods which increase Body Heat. Avoid Oily foods , Cold Drinks, Caffeine , Spicy food .

Everyday, I carry a box to work , that has Cucumber which has been peeled and cut into pieces. I have it as a snack between breakfast and Lunch.

My Cucumber for today 🙂

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I also carry buttermilk , in a bottle , to work everyday.

My advise is to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner rather than losing faith on Curcumin because of the above side effects . These side effects can be easily overcome and managed by simple home remedies and one can realize the benefits of Curcumin.

So , don’t loose heart …. have faith … do your research on the internet… a lot of information on foods that cool the body is available out there on the Internet….and get in touch with an Ayurvedic practitioner.

Stay Coool !


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My Obsession with Traditional Cookware

Eating healthy is important and Cooking food the right way is equally important. There are umpteen ways to cook food and a variety of cookware is being used to cook food all over the world.

These days I am fascinated and have been craving for all Traditional and Natural products like Earthen Cookware and Handloom Sarees.

A decade ago I came across articles that advised against using Aluminium cookware . Aluminium reacts with acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus foods and tamarindwhich makes the food toxic. I began replacing the ones I had with Stainless steel ones. I got a Stainless steel pressure cooker, a Kadai and other Stainless steel cooking pots for curries.

I recently came across this informative article which doubled my obsession for traditional cookware.

http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/artisinal-earthenware/article19133289.ece?utm_content=buffer3e782&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Cookware  made from terracotta, soapstone and cast iron are on my mind these days.

Have been exploring these varieties on the Internet, the pros and cons of each one of them, the recipes that are best cooked with each type of vessel , the sources for procuring these, cleaning/handling and maintenance of these pieces and finally the price of these beautiful pieces.

Got some good reviews from my sis too who has got hold of a terracotta utensil and has been raving about how yummy her dals turn out each time. Micro nutrients from the clay make the dish tasty and nutritious.

I have some good memories of my Grandma cooking delicious food in earthenware. Grandma is no more. Hope to interview some of the other women in Grandma’s village , who continue to cook using earthenware , during my next visit :).

I had stopped using Non-stick ware and was looking for other types of cookware. A year ago I tossed out my non stick pan which I used for making Dosas and bought a cast iron tava (pan) . I also bought a small appam pan which I now use to prepare tadka. Tossed out the Aluminium one I had that I used for preparing Tadka. Bought these online from peacockcolours.com.

Love these two babies . Especially because of the non stick kind of coating. They are heavier compared to other materials. Got to be careful so as not to drop them. They might break and break your floor too :).

I have just ordered a cast iron skillet and a cast iron Kadai online. Looking forward to their arrival 🙂 Ordered them from Thevillagefair.

Some six years ago I began replacing my Stainless steel utensils too as I read that Lead and chromium from stainless steel leach into the food. I did some research and liked ceramic-ware and bought two curry pots. Quite easy to clean but the thin layer of ceramic cannot withstand a steel spoon and hard scrubbing. Ceramic-ware also has traces of Lead and cadmium .

My recent obsession with Earthenware took me a Farmer’s market at Saptaparni , Banjara hills , last Sunday. Bought black earthenware . Bought this after reading and watching YouTube videos on how to Season and cook in these type of utensils.  Here is my latest acquisition –

Will review once I start using it 🙂 .

I also have a copper water jug which I plan to use . Got this as a gift from my Organisation. It was lying in a corner in our Pantry and I retrieved it today 🙂  Indians have long since believed that drinking water stored in a copper container is very good for the health. More on this later.

Till then … enjoy healthy cooking …

 


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Taming Multiple Myeloma – A Success Story from UK

Came across this article where a 67 year old woman from UK has successfully tamed Multiple Myeloma.

Dieneke Ferguson, the founder and CEO of https://www.hiddenartshop.co.uk learnt about Curcumin through Margaret’s Blog .

I was very excited when I read that Dieneke Ferguson too , just like me , was also inspired by Margaret’s Blog and started using Curcumin.

Here is the whole story :

How our CEO Dieneke Ferguson beat her incurable cancer through curcumin

Hopefully this news will inspire many others to believe that there is hope and not to give up.

 

 

 

 


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Treadmill Test : My experience

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Went to the Hospital, along with Hubby,  for a Health check up last week. The package included Cardiac tests like ECG, 2D-Echo and Treadmill Test (TMT), Ultrasound scan of the Abdomen, Lipid profile, Bone Mass Density , Thyroid , Hepatitis B and C , Chem 20 etc.

After giving blood samples , we went for the Cardiac tests. ECG was taken and 2D-Echo was also done. I was not interested in doing the TMT because I was sure that I will fail the test. I am not a fan of any kind of exercise . Am too lazy to do any form of exercise and always find some excuse to skip doing any exercise. Whenever there is a need to walk real fast ,I feel some pain in the center of my chest. I always had this feeling that I have a weak heart, a heart that is unable to pump fast and hence I have this pain.

While I was getting up after the 2D-echo was completed , the technician tells me to go for the TMT. I looked at her and asked ‘should I go?’. She must have thought I am crazy. She nodded, I said Ok and walked out .

I had earlier read that TMT is recommended only after an ECG and 2D Echo are done to guage the condition of the heart. So, when the Technician recommended to go for the TMT without telling me about any hesitation or precaution , I assumed that things are normal. I came out and told hubby that I will do the TMT.

I went inside the TMT room and the Technician there quickly attached several probes all over my chest . These wires were connected to a flat rectangular device that was tightly strapped around my upper waist. Several wires from this device were connected to a Monitor next to the Tread Mill. A BP checking apparatus was strapped on my upper arm.

The Technician asked me if I have any pain in the knees. I shook my head and she then told me that the test will last approximately 8 minutes. 3 minutes at a slow speed, the next 3 minutes at a higher speed and the TreadMill would be slightly inclined and the last 2 minutes the speed would be further increased and further inclined. She also told me to tell her if I experienced any pain.

I start walking and felt quite comfortable for 6 minutes. I was ready for the last two minutes and was getting prepared to tell her to stop if required. I stopped looking at the time on the monitor and continued to walk. I did not experience any pain and I completed the 2 minutes too. The Treadmill was stopped abruptly and I was told to sit down on the chair next to the TreadMill. I did not like the way the TreadMill was stopped suddenly.I had always read that it is not correct to abruptly stop running or jogging and one has to gradually reduce the speed and then stop.

The moment I sat down I noticed that my heart was racing. Felt as though it would burst or it may stop. All the probes were still connected and the Technician was watching the monitor. I was scared and was angry with myself for going ahead with the test. What if I had a Heart attack now. Funny thing was that I didn’t feel my heart beating this fast while doing the last 2 minutes. It was only when I sat down, that the beating could be felt.

I was sitting and telling my heart to slow down …please slow down …. please be good and calm down …. I started taking long breaths hoping the heart will slow down quickly . Oh My God those three minutes of my heart racing was a scary experience.

Finally took a long breath and was able to smile. All the while I was telling the Technician that I had never exercised this hard.

I successfully completed the test and all the parameters were normal. Yayyy , I did it !! 🙂

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So glad I don’t have to worry about my Heart any more. But I need to get back to my walking routine which I had stopped.

My conclusion : One can go ahead with the Treadmill Test without any hesitation as the Technician would know whether the person should go ahead or not. But it is advisable to have a Cardiologist around during the process.

Had read that there is an alternative method to stimulate the heart by injecting a medication, The patient would be in a resting state while the heart beat would increase and the parameters would then be monitored.  This method is used for those who are unable to walk on the Treadmill for various reasons.